This Maori piece is from a time prior to the coining of the term “dinosaur” and certainly over a hundred years prior to accurate depictions of the brachiosaurus, even down to correctly depicting the creature as a plant eater. (Here the dinosaur or lizard is depicted with a mouthful of reeds).
So far, there are thought to be four types of sauropods, with corresponding head/skull shapes. This depiction closely matches the high head or raised skull of the brachiosaurus. One of the four skull types is shown here along with a side by side comparison of the piece with a modern drawing of brachiosaurus.
This item is identified as a lizard. It is said that the Maori feared the lizard. Perhaps it was because they were “terrible lizards) dino saurs. ;0). Offered here so that you can make up your own mind. Did these creatures really become extinct 40 million years ago? Or does this represent some plant eating, long necked lizard of normal dimensions whch were nervertheless, feared by the Maori?
â€śProperty of a Private Collector
A Superb maori Ceremonial Adae, carved from a single piece of wood with fine opaque greenhouse adae insert in the wood and bound with numerous layers of overlapping fiber, the butt pierced through with square hole and carved as an openwork tiki with face highlighted by fine scrollwork and insert halotin shell eyes beneath a cylindrical shaft carved with a lizard in relief biting the lower jaw of a second tiki head carved in similar openwork and decorated with intricate repeating docrative motif, insert halotin shell eyes; exceptionally fine medium brown patina. Length 13 ÂĽ in (33.7 cm)
This adae was more than likely carved in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century in the North Auckland or Taranaki style. The image of the lizard for the Maori is one of the most powerful symbols, referring to both life and death. The living was both feared and shunned because of itâ€™s powersâ€ť.
Purchased by James Hooper in Manchester, 1925
James Hooper Collection
Published: Hooper and Burtana. The Art of Primitive Peoples, 1954